Why I stopped Being a Minimalist

A follower messaged to ask if I was still a minimalist. I became a minimalist over eight years ago. I mean I’ve never really been one of excessiveness but I truly understood what I was doing by consciously choosing to have less of material things. It happened shortly after the loss of our daughter Hilary and I was in a very dark place. I had excessive thoughts, feelings, emotions, anger, resentments and all the negative feelings you can think of. Taking antidepressants because the doctor thought you had post natal depression that resulted from the loss of a baby was not enough. I went for therapy and it was still not enough.

I discovered that everything I was feeling was as a result of feelings I had brought with me before getting pregnant. I needed to let go of those feelings so I can deal with the current feeling and learn to live with my grief. I let go of toxic relations, I didn’t owe anyone anything. I didn’t expect anything from anyone. I only bought what I needed and maybe what I wanted in order to feel better. Before this, I would work and work and I never took any vacation, never traveled to somewhere new or interesting. I started my business as an entrepreneur when I was in my second year of Uni. Always hustling and never taking a break. No wonder I was stressed and depressed.

After having that euphoria moment, I decided this life was very precious yet very irrelevant. One minute we are here and the next, we are gone. I was pregnant one minute, seeing, feeling and hearing the baby kicking, saw she was a girl with very lovely dark long hair. The next minute she was gone. Saying ‘gone too soon’ was an understatement. No I was going to let go of irrelevant things and begin to do things that really mattered. As I was googling that kind of lifestyle, I stumbled across the word ‘minimalist’. I thought well, I am a minimalist already. My first car was a third hand daihatsu charade even when at the time I was working full-time and could afford a newer car. I was always careful and wise with my money.

Minimalism is not so much as living quite literary with less things, its more of a mindset. A mindset to live consciously. There is a lady I met once who has five black Gucci bags. Same design, same colour and same everything. Two I can understand. there are times you have to buy the exact same jeans twice because you love it so much and concerned that there is a possibility you couldn’t find it again should one wear off. Not five of them, especially not a timeless pieces like a Gucci bag. But I don’t judge. Everyone to their own. People should be allowed to do what makes them happy. But in a true minimalist fashion, we will not see the need to buy more than one or two at most.

When I became a minimalist, I was not into social media. I was just doing my own thing in a little suburb in Essex. Then I joined social media and at first was so excited to share and connect with similar minded people. That became my down fall. I love social media, you see. Yes you must have attained some level of emotional and psychological maturity to look past all the BS and falseness but it’s actually a nice place. It has really helped me cope with things when I didn’t know where to turn to. I’ve met several people who went through or are going through what I’ve been through ( without necessarily putting it up in their bio that they have lost a child or that they have one medical condition or something) I have met people who make me laugh so much I forget I’m actually suppose to be crying. I have had many inspirations on how to dress up a wall, like seriously, that is a big deal. you don’t just hang a photo on a wall. I could write a 2500 words on how to dress up a wall.

The thing with social media is that just as its full of good things, there are also not so good things in it. Its full of good people and not so good people. When I started my public online minimalist journey I never knew there was a code. You have to wear only two colours, three the most. Blacks, whites and grey. I mean I love those colours and if you follow me you would know those are mostly my colours, however, I also love bright colours. I love all the colours of the rainbows. I understand some colours are more visually relaxing than other but you don’t get crucified for posting other colours.

Then it was portraid like minimalist were living a boring lives. Showing just photos of sleeping on their white beds wearing a black or grey nightie, or standing against a white wall wearing a white t-shirt or drinking coffee from a white mug while sitting on a white bed or sitting on a white sofa reading a book with white cover. I mean I love and do all these things and I understand the need for continuity of themes but come on, that’s not real life. Do you not go out? Do you not take your children out? Are your young kids minimalist too? Do they not have their own voice or choices? I love dressing my kids in white or light colours but some days my daughter wants to wear her pink dress and metallic shinning blue shoes. she looks so cute I can’t help but take a photo, now should I not post that photo in my perfect white, black and grey theme wall? Would I be breaking the minimalist code?

Then there was the attack from un-understanding families and friends who think you turned minimalist because you are broke. I mean by all means make charitable donations to my bank accounts, I won’t stop you but don’t come give me several of your run down clothes when I’m still trying to get ride of all the excess I have.

Then your religions brothers and sisters think it’s a taboo. After all our God is a God of plenty. He has streets made out of gold. He is a rich God and we should not use our mouth to confess negative things like “less”. Ok I get you and I don’t like making religion and racial argument because people hardly open their minds to the possibility of a different thought process regarding those issues. They want to believe what they want to believe and I don’t like wasting time explain that sometimes things aren’t just black and white (no minimalist pun intended).

That attitude of not wanting to keep explaining myself and remembering why I came into this journey in the first place, which was to let go of any baggage weighing me down, including not being free to express myself because I don’t want to break a code, made me come to the conclusion that maybe this minimalist thing or at least the one on social medias is not my thing.

I want to go back to the way I was living my couscous life, not buying excessively or taking on too many projects or making too many friends that I don’t have time to call or text or message. Not having too much of things that I don’t need, want, or thing that don’t make me happy or inspire me and my family. So in my own little world I am still a minimalist at heart, I loves colours, I love to go outdoors just as much as I love indoors. I am just not your typical minimalist. And there are lots of people like me that I admire on social media. They have white sofas and sit on it drinking coffee from their white mugs but also go on holidays wearing pink one piece suits.

So, I am sorry I may not be minimalist enough to those followers who wonders if I’m still a minimalist, but I love and live my life as it best for me and my family. One that several years down, when I look at old photos, I will be glad that I lived and experienced things I may not be able to do any more.

Christmas For Less

Halloween is over now and we are all excited about Christmas! We love love Christmas. The carols, lights, decorations, food, visit to santa, winter wonderland and the general atmosphere. There is also the exchange of gifts, eating homecooked meals and chocolate with friends and families. 
But it doesn’t come cheap. All the beautiful, wonderful things that makes it amazing cost a lot of money. 
The Tree – you can either get a real tree (traditional) , an artificial tree (modern) or a diy “tree” made out of lights and leaves like the picture above. This year, we are experimenting with a new idea. We have an artificial plant; so we thought instead of getting an additional tree, especially with the limited space to put it, we could decorate the plant we already have with lots of lights and traditional Christmas decorations. The plant is already cited nicely in the corner of the lounge. That’s money for Christmas tree saved or directed towards something else. 
The Lights- the clear fairy lights can be used to decorate your tree but what’s even more amazing is that they can also be used after Christmas to do other DIY projects around the house. 
Sourcing for your decorations shouldn’t be hectic. You may already have some, from previous years. Thrift shops always have good selections especially this time of the year. 
Shopping round local high street retailers and online stores for bargains will give you a wider selection of products. 
The Gift 
Gifts doesn’t necessarily have to be material gifts. You can give gift of your time, pay an old friend or family member a visit, pick up the phone and call that distance relative you haven’t spoken to in ages. Give the kids extra lessons to improve or learn a new skill. Skills like swimming, skating, horse riding or even learning the piano. Our kids for example already take swimming lessons but we won’t mind few horse riding lessons for them, especially as they aren’t cheap. You don’t have to pay for the whole lessons- family members could contribute towards the lessons. 
How about a weekend break? Giving hand made vouchers for Free childcare for few hours in a week, car wash, your own free cook/chef for one night, house chores (cleaners in London charge as little as £20 per hour) if you offer to help clean for three hours that’s a whooping £60!! Worth of gift. And if, like us they are parents with young children, we would take the free cleaning instead of the £60 worth gift any day. Because not having to do the house chores for once could be what the doctor recommends this busy season. 
Yes we should also give material things. Especially to experience that joy (temporary but joy all the same) of unwrapping the wrapping papers to reveal what’s in it. The excitement, anticipation and giggling as you await what lies inside those boxes or Christmas stockings.  
As a guide, you can follow our fiveorless principles. Fiveorless of: Something they need, something they want, something to wear and something to read. 
It is the thought that counts they say, it really is. Some of you may come from a little dysfunctional family like the rest of us, families who might not appreciate your “what I have, I will give unto thee” kind of giving, but in the end, you should be satisfied that you have done what you could and it was what you thought best at the time. 
We shouldn’t forget that Christmas is but one day only. It’s the memory that counts. So rather than fussing about it, let’s make it a memorable one. Have a lovely Christmas preparation. 
The London Mom